Kick those Meat Cravings to the Curb
During my visit to Kennedy Town newbie The Ribcage, Chef Kenneth Lo smiled knowingly at me and declared, “We cater to carnivores here.”
That’s not entirely surprising for a restaurant with a name like The Ribcage. If you haven’t guessed, it’s a joint that specialises in ribs – beef ribs, pork ribs and whatever else Kenneth will eventually stick in a smoker. After years in Canada making the most of their mouth-watering barbecues, he found there weren’t a lot of options in Hong Kong once his meat cravings kicked in. If there’s a gap in the market, you’ve got to jump on it and that’s exactly what he did – resulting in his modest restaurant tucked away on a corner of K Town.
While the restaurant’s impersonal design and ambience isn’t anything to write home about – think cold grey stone walls, high tables and black metal grating – it’s worth sticking around for the food, or at least for takeout. My friend and I were treated to a selection of their offerings and once I’d managed to clamber up onto one of their chairs, we were presented with enough meat to feed four people. Service definitely wasn’t an issue, everything came out swiftly and with smiles to boot.
First came a half rack of their slow-smoked USA pork baby ribs, which practically melted off the bone. Served with their house coleslaw and a mountain of beef fat skinny fries, it seemed like a mammoth meal for just one person. We dug in and paired with The Ribcage’s homemade BBQ sauce, every mouthful was a tart, tangy one. You could really taste the fruity apple notes, brought out by the hickory and apple wood they’d smoked it with. It all went amazingly with the crunch of their paprika spiced fries and their fresh coleslaw.
Next, we moved onto the Canadian AAA Beef ribs. These weren’t quite as successful as the pork ribs, mainly because they were extremely fatty and didn’t quite hit the same level of flavour. They were also massive and we really struggled to get through them, so you’ll definitely need to wrangle up a fellow carnivore if you’re thinking of making your way through both sets of ribs. There were meat sweats for days.
I didn’t get a chance to try their ribs sandwich combo as they only serve it on the weekends, but gauging from the photos, it’s a good reason to come back. Another thing to note is that they have a pretty banging selection of rotating craft beers including Hong Kong’s beloved Gweilo pale ale, all of which Kenneth grinningly admitted he’d taste tested with his mates over a rack of ribs. They also serve legit A&W root beer (“None of that Sarsae crap,” Kenneth said vehemently), which immediately boosted my opinion of him.
The Ribcage’s mission is to do ribs and do them well, which is why their selection is so limited at the moment. While I think the pork ribs, sauce and fries hit the spot, the beef ribs need a bit of work. I’d happily recommend sating your ribs cravings here and it’s all value for money; prices range from $148-$298 for a half or full rack of ribs. Maybe opt for a take out or watch out for when Deliveroo adds them to their ranks, as the place is a little lacking on the ambience front.
The Ribcage, Shop J, G/F, May Sun Building, 1 Smithfield, Kennedy Town, 3956 1423, www.facebook.com/ribcagehk